Health care spending has skyrocketed in the U.S. over the last three decades, and continues to take up a larger and larger share of the nation's GDP, hitting almost 18 percent at $3.3 trillion in 2016, according to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Of course, this is not news to brokers. Many employer clients have faced 10 percent, 15 percent, and 20 percent premium increases over the last few years, seemingly regardless of plan design changes or wellness initiatives. This trend has put pressure on employers and, in many cases, reduced benefits for employees. In turn, these parties pressure brokers to find a solution.

As with any problem, finding a solution first requires diagnosing the biggest cause of the problem.

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